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Saturday 25 June 2016

Recipe / Experiment: Hand Dived Isle of Man King Scallops wrapped in Pancetta (30mins)

Recently I was presented with some spectacular hand dived King scallops (monsters they were!) form the Isle of Man. I was given them by my rather chuffed flat mate who’d brought them back for me to cook with!! Touch! They were absolute beauties so I thought I’d do something simple with them:

Wrap them in smoked pancetta, baste them in butter and serve with a sharp blueberry sauce. Alone it’s barely a snack, so I thought a nice accompaniment would be a little rillettes, some pickled shimeji mushrooms, toasted sour dough baton and a little butter. Oh and a little arugula salad!

Wrap them in smoked pancetta, baste them in butter and serve with a sharp blueberry sauce. Alone it’s barely a snack, so I thought rillettes  would make a nice accompaniment, some pickled shimeji mushrooms to balance the heaviness of the rillettes & some toasted sour dough baton with a little butter. Oh and a little arugula salad!

(I was also the happy recipient of some Queenies - also Isle of Man scallops - but that another story! A rather more complicated and experimental one!)

Cooked in this order active cooking time is about 40 minutes! Total time 3hrs (takes longer to read that do!)
* Confit the meat.

* Pickle the mushrooms.

* Make blueberry sauce.

* Wrap the scallops (and allow to warm to room temp).

. . .  ~2hrs later . . 

* Drain the oil from the confit and put the wine on to reduce.

* Mix the rillettes.

* Toast bread - optional. (or roast the whole baguette!)

. . and (imagine a massive moustache and a paintbrush!) drum roll, the pièce de résistance . . 

* Sear and baste the scallops.

* Assemble, dress & serve immediately!

tada . . .  : )

Sounds like a lot but it took less than 30 minute to make this for 4 people, whilst quaffing le vin and chatting to them! ; )

ingredients (serves 4 - starter)

for the rillettes (makes ~500g - enough for 8)
(200C / 20m then 120C / 1h40m) 
8 rabbit legs / 4 chicken thighs (confit, then pulled)
350ml white wine
2 onion (medium dice)
5g thyme (picked)
5g rosemary (picked)
4 cloves garlic (peeled & flattened)
olive oil to cover
150g soft cheese
5g english mustard
Place the onion, wine, garlic and thyme into the bottom of a small ovenproof bowl (that has a lid)
Season the rabbit legs (or 2 skinless chicken thighs) with salt and pepper and place them on top.
Cover with oil by 1cm. Put the lid on an place into a preheated oven at 200C.
After 20m turn the temperature down to 120C.
After 1 hour and 40 minutes remove the confit from the oven.
Remove the rabbit / chicken and ladle off as much oil as possible. 
Keep the oil it will be nicely flavoured. (Good to brush onto bread instead of butter for example)
Pour the remains into a small sauce pan, reduce this mix until it’s nice and thick & blend with a stick blender until smooth.
Take it off the heat and add the soft cheese and mustard and mix well.
Pull the meat off the bone and mix it into the cheese. Season with salt and pepper / mustard if it needs it.
Put it into a suitable container for the table, cover with cling film and allow to cool.

for the blueberry sauce
100g blueberries
150ml water
5g sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 lemon (juiced)
Put 12 blueberries aside.
Put rest of the blue berries, sugar and water into a small sauce pan, bring to the boil, then set to simmer.
Once the blueberries are soft, pulse with a stick blender until smooth & pass through a sieve into a container.
Squeeze the lemon juice (through the sieve) reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon.
Take it off the heat and at the remaining blueberries.
Warm when required.

for the scallops (pièce de résistance!)
8 king scallops (patted dry)
16 slices of pancetta 
or 8 slices parma ham (cut lengthways in half)
75g clarified butter
75g olive oil
Pat the scallops dry then wrap them in a half a slice of parma ham.
Put aside on some kitchen towel on a tray and allow to warm to room temp before searing.
Add enough oil to coat the pan.
At the point where it’s almost smoking, then add the scallops and sear them until the bottoms are brown. (actually the top once plated)
Roll them in the pan to slightly colour the pancetta. (optional - I like to still be soft)
Holding the pan at an angle add the butter and once it’s hot (not brown) start basting the scallops.
If you are using normal butter allow it to stop foaming before you start basting. (All the water will have evaporated and the oil/butter will then start to rise above 100C - the boiling point of water - giving a nicer result)

for the sour dough bread
good quality sour dough baguette
salted butter (optional since you have rillettes)
Slice & toast.
Serve with a knob of butter. 

for the garnish
80g arugula
16 pickled shimeji mushrooms 
lemon juice & zest
drizzle EVO
I’ve garnished this dish with arugula, because it tastes better than rocket! (in my memory at least!) Funny how the mind works isn’t it!! The first time I came across this leaf was when I was living Barcelona, which has a lot of great and exciting memories attached to it, the second reason being that it was introduced as arugula by a rather cute american lass who was working in the green grocers where I regularly shopped. She was full of good tips! They were larger less strong leaves than the ones you get in the supermarkets in London with a much subtler flavour and altogether better tasting! 

FYI: Arugula & Rocket are both Eruca Sativa (aka salad rocket, rucola, rucoli, rugula, colewort, and roquette)

stick blender

thinking ahead
The rillettes will last for 2weeks in the fridge, no problem!

what could go wrong? (notes)
I fell asleep reading the recipe, the other half put a wine cork in my left nostril! : /

Saturday 18 June 2016

Prince Party, Menu & Comments: You are the ROCK STARS of munch!

by Simon Fernandez of ferdiesfoodlab

Next available date is the 30th Jul - how to book
at the London Cooking Project based in Battersea.

I know it looks like a lot of princes but there are actually quite a few princesses in the mix!!!

We were recently asked to do a Prince themed party. The brief was relatively carte blanche, with one course was specifically requested: a beetroot cured salmon, and 2 others that had been remembered from a menu I did 6 years ago: my Pea Soup & Ham Hock and my Beef Wellington!

Here's what I made for the evenings banquet:

~ ferdiesfoodlab ~
(may 2016)

pea and basil soup w/ ham chunks & parmesan
petit pois finely blended w/ 
an onion reduction & fresh basil
topped w/ crispy ham hock
(contains: pork)

SOUP was great
lovely veggie food
pea soup amazing - best Ive ever had

purple salmon
beetroot cured salmon w/ horseradish parfait 
served w/ an orange and beetroot reduction and red pepper puree
(contains: salmon, dairy)


spicy arancini croquettes w/ spring onion dip & red pepper puree
lightly spiced crispy arancini croquette w/ spring onion dip
served on a bed of sweet lemon dressed rocket
(contains: mushroom, gluten, dairy)

green bomb 
w/ hot & sour cucumber spaghetti

the green bomb is a crispy coated little beastie filled w/ herbs, spices & vegetarian haggis
served w/ shredded cucumber 
dressed asian style 
(contains: eggs, gluten, dairy)

Amazing Food, Good Service, Happy Days X

beef wellington w/ cauliflower california
a classic fillet of beef on a duxelle base wrapped in flakey pastry
served w/ spiced cauliflower fruit salad w/ almonds & red pepper & beetroot puree
(contains: beef, egg, nuts, gluten)


leek & aubergine pie w/ cauliflower california
leek, aubergine & chickpea pie 
w/ hints of rosemary & cream
served w/ cauliflower & fruit salad 
topped w/ toasted almonds
(contains: gluten, egg free)

butterscotch clouds & raspberry sorbet
butterscotch creme patissier, various meringues,
served w/ a raspberry & grenadine sorbet
raspberries, pomegranate, passion fruit & rum baba
(contains: dairy, gluten, eggs, pistachio)

~ petit fours ~
coffee bean chocolates, black olive ganache & sweet cherries
roasted coffee beans coated in dark chocolate,
black olives & salted caramel coated in milk chocolate,
fresh succulent cherries

You are the rock stars of munch!


Amazing Food, Good Service, Happy Days X

Great Experience, lovely food - veggie


Really really yummy, I loved it

Soup, salmon & wellington GREAT thank you.

You are the rock stars of munch

You guys rocks [SIC]

pea soup amazing - best Ive ever had

very sympathetic to veggie like me

Your dinner made me go bonkers! WELL DONE

Zombie prince is eyeballing me man! They all are!

G R E A T   P A R T Y!

RIP Prince : /

HAPPY Birthday Immy! : )

Recipe: Beetroot Cured Salmon Sushi (Salmon Nigiri)

We were recently asked to do a Prince themed party the brief was relatively carte blanche but one course was specifically requested: a beetroot cured salmon. So after a little homework I created kind of sashimi dish. I’d call it a tataki or carpaccio but there is no searing involved! 

The creation was a lightly cured salmon dish served with a horseradish parfait, orange candied beetroot and red pepper puree. 

Quite pleased with it decided to upgrade my fillet roulette recipe’s nigiri element with a milder version of the cure.

It’s cured for less time to retain the texture in the centre of the cut.

ingredients (enough for 12 nigiri)

for the cured salmon 
(start about 10AM day before)
1/2 side salmon 
   (as fresh as possible, nigiri cut) 
150g raw beetroot (peeled diced)
2g cumin seeds
1/2 orange (chopped zest & juice)
100g caster sugar
200g sea salt
To create the cure blend all ingredients (except for salmon & orange juice).

The skirt of the salmon is used for nigiri. It has a fattier content that goes well wit the rice ball.

Cut along the length of the piece of salmon about half a centimetre under the row of bones in the centre.

Skin the salmon and create a neat block.

Pat the block dry with kitchen towel.

Line a tray with cling film.

Put 1/3 of the cure into the tray, add the salmon skin side up.

Pour the other 2/3 on top, make sure the salmon is completely coated.

Wrap it with the cling film and leave to cure for 12hrs.

Turn and redistribute the mix, cure for another 12hrs (overnight). 

When cutting the salmon, cut across the grain of the fat so you’re nigiri have a nice texture and are nicely striped.

The nigiri already have a certain amount of seasoning form the cure so I  served them with a light ponzu dip, wasabi and ginger as a palette cleanser. Lush!

Sunday 12 June 2016

Recipe: Orange, Beetroot & Pistachio Nougat (Turron, Nougat)

We were  recently asked to do a Prince themed party for Immy of Miss Immy’s London
The brief was:  “A nod to Prince and his lyrics and some purple action in the menu but not to go mad with the purple!!” So we knocked a few ideas about and came up with the first draft of the menu. 

Orange, Beetroot & Pistachio Nougat

I’d agreed a desert called “Butterscotch Clouds & Raspberry Sorbet”, and although I had a rough idea what I was aiming for I hadn’t quite got a complete picture in my head. Now that’s not great! You see the masterchef lot get given invention tests all the time, and the half baked ones don’t always end well!! At all!

In the end (I think I finished about 3AM the night before service) I created an array of components hoping I’d be able to create something that passed for “Butterscotch Clouds & Raspberry Sorbet” the following day!

On the list of components was the obvious raspberry sorbet, butterscotch creme pat, and and Italian meringue. (for me butter scotch clouds)

hibiscus meringue spears

Then less obvious, borage & lemon meringue, some hibiscus meringue spears, rum baba, raspberry & Champagne syrup, and various fruits (raspberry, passion & pomegranate), and an orange & beetroot nougatine. Well a nougat in the end.

And In the final analysis . . . 

Butterscotch Clouds & Raspberry Sorbet

Bloody hell it’s sweet!! I’m not a huge dessert fan, but I quite like this one. (Ahem, and I thought it met the brief.)

This is the recipe for my favourite component: the orange and beetroot nougat with roasted pistachio nuts.

ingredients (makes 2 trays - 18cm x 25cm)
for the orange & beetroot syrup (200ml)
200ml grenadine
400ml orange juice (fresh)
2 beetroot (peeled & grated)
Put ingredients into a small pot and bring to the boil, set to simmer and reduce by 2/3. 
Sieve and put aside until needed.

for the nougat
200g orange & beetroot syrup 
380g sugar
175g glucose
125g honey
2 tangerines (zest)
60g egg white
10g sugar
800g pistachio (shelled)

rice paper (or 50/50 cornflour / icing sugar mix)
This is all pretty tight timing wise, so everything has to be ready before you start the syrup!! You have been warned!
First line trays with rice paper, or 50/50 cornflour / icing sugar mix, if you can’t get rice paper.

Put the nuts in the oven @ 140C
Blast the honey & zest in the microwave until it’s bubbling then put to one side. Add it to the syrup just before adding the syrup to the egg whites.

Take the orange syrup, sugar and glucose mix up to 155C.

Start whisking the egg whites when syrup hits 110C, whisk it until it reaches soft peaks. (best to use a standing mixer, see what could go wrong)

Pour syrup into the egg white slowly so as not to wreck the meringue. Keep whisking for 3minutes.

Take the warm nuts out of the oven and fold them into meringue. Pour the mix out into 2 heavy gauge trays lined with rice paper. 

Oil a pallet knife and smooth out the mix then top w/ rice paper (or 50/50 cornflour / icing sugar mix) and flatten with another tray.

Glad wrap it (cling film), and put it into the fridge to set. 

Vac pack / glad wrap when set. 

Cut when needed 1x3cm pieces. 

Or 5cm, or make a texan bar out of it . . . whua har har!!  (Leave the nuts out to do that, probably need to take the sugar unto 165C too)

apparatus / equipment
Standing mixer.
Temperature probe. (preferably with an alarm!)

what could go wrong? (notes)
The first time I tried to make something similar to this - turron - I used a hand whisk when mixing in the 155C syrup. Looking back on it I was extremely lucky not to get badly burnt! As soon as the syrup hit the whisk molten sugar when flying all over the kitchen - really dangerous! Pour the hot syrup slowly down the side of the bowl.

If you pour the syrup in too quickly it over cooks the egg and you get a kind of cooked egg white consistency, not what you want. Pour the syrup in really slowly as the mixer works it in.

Le creme de la creme would be proud!! (ish,  kinda, probably get slammed actually! Whole 1mm out!)

Do not vac pack it after you have cut it because it will simply turn back into one single block!! Oops.

There are so many type of nougat out there it’s crazy!! The basics are the same Have fun!

How To Book / Attend

How To Book / Attend
Fancy getting stuck in? Click on the image above and to see how : ) . . . hope to see you soon.

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes

More Techniques, Basics and Corker Recipes
If there's something you've tried at ferdiesfoodlab or a technique you want to know about drop us a line at and I'll put up a post about it!!


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